UC Berkeley’s Accounting of Concussion Inc.’s Public Record Act Requests In 2014 Death of Football Player Ted Agu Is Unclear, Untimely, Unreasonable

Published March 27th, 2017, Uncategorized

Concussion Inc.’s ebook THE TED AGU PAPERS: A Black Life That Mattered — And the Secret History of a Covered-Up Death in University of California Football is available on Kindle-friendly devices at http://amzn.to/2aA2LDl. One hundred percent of royalties are being donated to sickle cell trait research and education.

 

by Irvin Muchnick

 

The slow and piecemeal dribbling out of documents to this reporter by the University of California in response to requests under the California Public Records Act has ground to a standstill. These requests involve, among other items, internal emails by UC Berkeley officials regarding the 2014 death of football player Ted Agu and the precursor 2013 player-on-player criminal assault, which also occurred on the watch of Damon Harrington, the now-departed strength and conditioning assistant under now-fired head coach Sonny Dykes.

On February 16, I asked Liane Ko, the Berkeley campus public records act coordinator, for an inventory of which of my requests were considered still open and which closed.

Below are the full texts of Ko’s March 23 email to me and the March 24 reply to Ko by my attorney Roy S. Gordet.

The reference to the release of a key document to another requester, while the same document was withheld from us for an additional eight months, was explained in “UC Berkeley Campus Newspaper Confirms That Public Records Office Had Already Given It Police Incident Report on Football Player’s 2013 Attack on Teammate,” February 28, http://concussioninc.net/?p=11873.

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From: UC Berkeley Public Records Office

To: ​Irvin Muchnick

Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:10 PM

Subject: Open PRA Requests

 

Dear Mr. Muchnick:

Based on our records, we have your requests for records related to football strength and conditional program review and PRA request submissions open.

Regards,

Liane Ko

Public Records Coordinator

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Public Records Office

University of California, Berkeley

*****

 

March 24, 2017

By Email to pra@berkeley.edu

Liane Ko, Public Records Coordinator

Public Records Office

University of California, Berkeley

 

Re: Irvin Muchnick – Open PRA Requests

Dear Ms. Ko:

This law firm represents Irvin Muchnick. He has forwarded to me for follow-up your email message of March 23, 2017 to Mr. Muchnick. In sum, your email message does not meet the standards of clarity, timeliness, and reasonableness required of a government agency with obligations under the California Public Records Act. In order to cure these defects, we request without further delay the following:

1. A clear inventory of Mr. Muchnick’s “open” and “closed” requests to your office.

Your one-sentence email does not constitute such a clear inventory. To facilitate an anticipated clearer and more comprehensive response from your office, we are attaching a PDF file of the relevant correspondence to Mr. Muchnick. For the sake of economy, we deleted correspondence relating to requests that were promptly and non-controversially fulfilled, for example the copies of various University employees’ employment contracts.

The history of your correspondence shows that the PRA office ostensibly does not use control or reference numbers. Furthermore, your emails to Mr. Muchnick have had no consistent style – sometimes concatenating previous pertinent correspondence, sometimes not. The subject lines of your email messages are vague. As a recent example, you have introduced the subject line “Documents re Athletics Incidents.” Finally, you have ignored Mr. Muchnick’s contention that his inquiries dating from December 2016 represent demands to cure defects of open, previously filed requests, not requests de novo.

2. Substantial responsive public records production.

Mr. Muchnick’s root request is nearly a year old. To cite only one example of the University’s non-compliance with the California Public Records Act, the record shows that within a month of his initial request your office released a key document to another requester, yet withheld the same document from Mr. Muchnick for eight months. In addition, your failure to complete a request for copies of all public records requests through the relevant period obstructs the effort to establish whether your office violated the law by fulfilling requests out of order, or by unreasonably pleading “complexity” with respect to certain requests but not making the same objection to almost identical requests from other requestors.

Your prompt attention to the issues raised above will be appreciated.

Very truly yours,

Roy S. Gordet

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“Explainer: How ‘Insider’ Access Made San Francisco Chronicle and Berkeley J-School Miss Real Story Behind Death of Cal Football’s Ted Agu,” http://concussioninc.net/?p=10931

Complete headline links to our Ted Agu series: The Criminal Death of Cal Football Player Ted Agu: Headline Links to Our Coverage « Concussion Inc. – Author Irvin Muchnick